Rhys: “You can’t live your life in reverse.”

Staff Writer


With the announcement that Rhys Holleran has resigned as CEO, come July 31 it will bring to a close an 18 year association that has seen a regional radio group grow, and become the massive Southern Cross Austereo.

Rhys Holleran has worked in the industry for 28 years. By 1997 he became Managing Director of RG Capital Radio based on the Gold Coast. Fast forward to 2009, he went on to become the CEO of Southern Cross Media Group.
That group went onto acquire Austereo in 2011 for around $714 million with Rhys leading and overseeing the merger between the two groups.
December 2012 saw the Royal Prank call surface, and the fallout from that is still alive to this day with ACMA leading the charge.
Perhaps the turning point for SCA’s, and Rhys’, fortunes was November 2013. That was the month that SCA announced 2Day FM would lose Kyle and Jackie O to ARN. What followed saw investors slice $500 million off SCA’s value.
Asked if he wished he had fought harder to keep Kyle and Jackie O, Rhys told The Australian
“You can’t live your life in reverse.
“If you start looking in the rear view mirror you stop looking at what’s in front of you,” he said. “I’m a great believe in looking forward, and never backwards. I think that the totality of everything that I’ve been associated with is exactly that — it’s never down to one or two things or one or two individuals.”
Despite the issues SCA have had recently, many have highlighted the great vision, drive and foresight Rhys Holleran has had in putting together the largest radio group in Australia.
One industry insider said: “Rhys was one of the few people that was responsible from turning regional radio from what was really a cottage industry into the business that it is today”
Another said “He loved the business so much it became his life and what a grand life!”
Since the founding of Austereo by the man many call the father of FM radio Paul Thompson, there have been only six CEO’s/ MD’s who have lead the Austereo as a company in its 35 year history.
All have led during different stages of the companies’ evolution and development, and during varying competitive landscapes and challenges.
They are:

1980 – 1995

Paul Thompson 16 years – Founder & CEO – Paul is the only CEO to start two successful metro FM radio groups, DMG Radio (Nova) and Austereo



1995 – 1997

Peter Harvie  – post Village/Austereo merger for  3 years



1997 – 2004

Brad March – 6  years.


2004 – 2010

Michael Anderson – 6  years



2010 – 2011

Guy Dobson – 2 years



2011 – 2015

Rhys Holleran  – post Southern Cross Media merger –  6 years


Peter BushFor the moment Rhys is being replaced by Peter Bush as Executive Chairman until a successor is secured. Peter is a renowned media company turnaround specialist and the company will no doubt see more change as it evolves into a radio & multimedia company for 2015 and beyond. However, it seems likely it will retain a focus on the core business of FM radio.
Rhys will also work with the board to see a smooth transition. Peter Bush said in his announcement yesterday that:  
“..Media is an ever changing and challenging sector, requiring a further long term leadership commitment. Rhys and the board came to the view that a change of leadership is now appropriate for both parties”.
In The Australian Rhys said: “I thought it was a good opportunity for me to go and look elsewhere and figure out what I want to do with the next part of my life,” he said. “I didn’t see myself sitting in this role for another half a dozen years.”
So the head hunting begins with the SCA board appointing Heidrick & Struggles to assist in the process of identifying a successor. Peter Bush told the Australian that:
“Radio experience was not a prerequisite as the biggest priorities were “strategic and commercial”.
“There are some people that have various media experience and there are some candidates that potentially may have no media experience at all,” said Peter Bush in The Australian.

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